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Kennedy Tribute – Newsletter 3 June 2015

image-didcot-painting-patrick-cannon
Early morning mist rising over Didcot – painting by Patrick Cannon

TRIBUTE TO CHARLES KENNEDY

Sometimes there are pieces of news that can give you cause for stopping and reflecting about life. This week there was the sad news about the death of a politician called Charles Kennedy. He was previously the Leader for the Liberal Democrats until he resigned following problems with alcohol. His marriage failed and recently he lost his MP position at the general election and was this week found dead at his home aged 55 years old.
My recollection is of a man who had a steely determination, with a big smile, a sense of humour and also the ability to share his vulnerability and problems. I think the reason that, whether or not you agreed with his politics, the reason his death has stirred up such a level of compassion across the country is precisely because he did not hide his problems and challenges as a person.

Recently I met with a man for lunch who is a Knight of the Realm (a “Sir”) who has been a kind friend to me for a number of years and we discussed life including the challenge for him of the fast approaching retirement years. These things come to us all!
Many people (maybe particularly men) face real challenges when they approach retirement or face unemployment because much of their self-worth and identity can be wrapped up with their work. As shared on Sunday, we need to honest with the Lord about our personalities and the pressures and the problems we find difficulties with. These will be different for each person. As disciples of Jesus we need to undertake regular “spiritual health checks” to ensure that the focus of our identity is not about what others think about us but primarily about our relationship with Jesus.

We all want to feel a sense of worth, love, and security in our lives, but we can’t provide this for ourselves. But God can. He freely gives us true freedom through his Son, Jesus. His Word tells us not to focus on ourselves but on him, to look not at what we’ve done but at what he’s done for us through Jesus Christ. Our sense of worth and value – our self-esteem – is only truly found in our Saviour who lived and died in our place.

The apostle Paul appreciated this deep truth this when he said:
“Whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8).
In our Saviour Jesus we find a status before God that we could never forge in our own strength. We find a love from God that is unfailing.

Let’s pray – Dear Heavenly Father God, we sometimes are saddened by the news about people who have died in sad circumstances. We also can struggle with self-esteem and self-worth when the world rejects us. Help us we pray to find that strength and peace that only comes through a relationship with you through Jesus, Amen

God bless
David